austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour

bunny_hugger thought I was crazy for going as far into the Michigan's Adventure parking lot as we did. But my optimism paid off: we got a great parking spot. This was after sneaking up on the park, from the side we never approach from, since the lighthouse visit put us over that way. We also got to discover a great-looking mid-century modern Chinese restaurant that we'll have to try sometime just on the strength of its signs. In the amusement park's parking lot was a lime-green van with, in the windows, the text ``From Denmark To Michigan''. We had to admire the thoroughness of a park tour that'd get all the way to Michigan's Adventure, considering. Possibly they also came for some other stuff.

It wasn't a very crowded day, as the water park was open and that soaks up a lot of attendance. Still, it was crowded enough that the Mad Mouse coaster --- a wild mouse --- was packed every time we looked at it. bunny_hugger observes that wild mouse coasters always have the worst lines and I suppose she's right; their combination of family-friendliness and low capacity per train are going to do that. I don't remember when we'd last missed the Mad Mouse.

But we got all the other roller coasters we might have wanted to ride, including a ride on the Big Dipper, a kiddie coaster that bunny_hugger joked I wanted to ride only to boost my coaster count, now that I have one. Hey, I was up for the fun of it and it meant I rode at least one new roller coaster at every park we visited this summer. In the long wait to get the kids loaded up in the front of the coaster we got a good view of the Chance Rides' nameplate. The ride's a Gold Rush Family Coaster model and the plaque has information about how to set it up (it's suitable for fairground use) and loading capacity, ride time, clearances, and design speeds and the wind limits beyond which it should not be run, and for that matter when it starts to become structurally unsound. I'd report that to you but, of course, my photograph's unclear at just that point.

We did learn that though Zach's Zoomer, a junior roller coaster, is about the same width as the Comet over at Waldameer, its cars are a lot shorter front-to-back, so there's no fitting the both of us and my legs in the car at once.

It was, generally, a beautiful day, one that showed off all the rides to their best advantage. It also gave us some spectacular cloud play as the dusk fell, with gorgeous tawny light that made the park look like an opera set.

And the sun set, and we did get to have a little park time in the dark. We went to Shivering Timbers, the mile-long wooden roller coaster, for that, as the park's best roller coaster and the one most in the dark. We were waiting for a front-seat ride, but the operators told us this was the last train going out and told everyone get in in one of the seats. (This was still only a partial load.) We went to the back seat and the guy said, no, take the next-to-the-last seat. He promised it was best. We agreed to try it, but I asked if we could get a reride if we weren't satisfied. He probably gets that a lot, too.

It's amazingly fun to be on a ride like that in the dark, especially when you know it pretty well. Parks ought to try, especially for Halloween, doing more in-the-dark rides. We got not just the wonder of the ride in the dark but also to walk around some of the midway, shrouded by the park's lack of lights and yet resisted by how some of the rides have some lighting anyway. It was this beautiful view of the park sort of nestled in for the night but still partly busy with the dwindling crowd and it's the sort of complicated blend of atmosphere and lighting that needs to be captured in painting.

That would be our final trip to Michigan's Adventure for the year. It's been a magnificent year for amusement park trips, and it wasn't over yet.

Trivia: After seeing --- and being awed by --- the RCA model TRK660 television set at the 1939 World's Fair, Hugh Downes tried the Parachute Drop. Its parachute failed to completely open and he dropped at about three times the intended speed. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory Of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: The Origins Of Interventionism: The United States And The Ruso-Finnish War, Robert Sobel.

Tags: amusement parks
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